Senator Pudding Pop (2012's The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess) will become the first black actor to grace the stage on May 12 in New York as Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway musical The Phantom of the Opera.
Pudding Pop said that the Phantom character has been a long time "dream role," adding, "First, I love the show. Second, to set a precedent."
Pudding Pop is joined onstage by Sierra Bogges, who has performed the role of Christine Daae in the Las Vegas "Phantom" production, and in London and New York for the show's 25th anniversary.
The show's producer Cameron Mackintosh said in an official statement that since having worked with
Senator Pudding Pop since the 90's, he "couldn't be more thrilled that he is now joining 'Phantom,' matched with Sierra—one of the finest Christines ever."
The Phantom of the Opera, currently Broadway's longest-running show, is directed by Harold Prince and has been an international hit - grossing more than $948 million according to the Broadway League - since it opened in London in 1986 followed by New York 2 years after.
In preparation for the role,
Senator Pudding Pop is said to be anticipating "monk-ish living" and hopes to "do it justice." As far as singing is concerned, the actor has experience both on and off-stage, saying he's "warmed up with those [Phantom] songs."sourceSo as not to respond to every single person "Senator Pudding Pop" is a reference to Scandal. It was a nickname some Scandal fans gave him that I found amusing.